Ancient misconceptions v saleable commodity
- 14 June 2011
- From the section Wales politics
"A blue sky and a yellow sun - what more do you want from the coalition?"
Yes, I really did hear that line this morning, before the voice that uttered it petered out in shock at having come out with it at all.
No need, then, to remind him that it was a very wet weekend in Wales - and no need to remind Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson either that compared to the South East, we in Wales are "positively sodden". East Anglia might be facing a drought but no scorched earth here.
So come on, says Mr Johnson in the Telegraph, let's resurrect the idea of linking up Welsh mountain reservoirs via the Wye and the Severn with the Thames. Let's squeeze the 'positively sodden' a bit to help out the dry South East, or as he puts it:
'Since Scotland and Wales are on the whole higher up than England, it is surely time to do the obvious: use the principle of gravity to bring surplus rain from the mountains to irrigate and refresh the breadbasket of the country in the South and East'.
A reminder for one or two, perhaps, that when it comes to water, it is Westminster's word that is final, not the Assembly's. Westminster, it spells out here, has the power to intervene if any plans by the Assembly:
'might have a serious adverse impact on water resources in England, water supply in England or the quality of water in England'.
Simply wrong, said Plaid Cymru's Alun Ffred Jones, a few years ago:
'When my father stood up for the local community in Tryweryn against its flooding in the 1960's I thought that a future Welsh parliament would have full control over the water resources of Wales. In the 21st Century it is ridiculous that Welsh people can not influence water policy'.
But his boss, said Mr Johnson's adviser Guto Harri on BBC Cymru's Taro'r Post this lunchtime, is pointing to a business opportunity - one that shouldn't be clouded (excuse the pun) by 'ancient misconceptions' :
'Wales should look at water in the same way as the Arabs look at oil: as a saleable commodity'.
Of course, the whole thrust of that clause in the the Government of Wales Act, as far as I can see, is designed to stop a government in Wales from doing exactly that - but if you see things differently, jump in.
The water's lovely.
Dwr Cymru Welsh Water have just issued this statement:
Re movement of water to other parts of the UK
Setting up a national water grid to move water around the UK is a government issue and it would need to meet the ecological challenges that could be encountered in mixing water from different areas which have wide variances in quality.